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>> good morning. i am the executive director of the transportation authority. your emcee for the event. it brings me tremendous pleasure to welcome you all, notable
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visitors, elected officials to the event which is the groundbreaking for a contract 4 on the presidio park where project which will deliver the southbound battery tunnel and detour road that will bring everybody who uses the oil and dive into safety by the middle of 2011. we are delighted to be able to use this opportunity. back in october, we had a ground-breaking ceremony for the project as a whole. we had the speaker of the house nancy pelosi with us. the mayor was here, other
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dignitaries. at the time, we were looking at the oil drive -- doyle drive. we now have a different project for the 21st century. it is an example of what partnership and inventiveness and the full participation of the amazing community of san francisco residents can do to create a project that is really worthy of the amazing natural setting of the presidio park, the largest urban park in the park system. let me start by making some acknowledgements. we have some speakers who i will introduced in a moment, but i am very pleased to welcome to the event, dan representing the
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speaker's office. i would also like to have very much thank christine from senator feinstein's office, as well as mega miller, a field representative team for senator boxer. in that knowledge and then come i want to the knowledge and leadership of both senators and their vision for how important this project is from the first moment, they have been a steadfast force in washington, d.c. for us. together with the speaker, they have been a formidable set of champions for this were the project. i also want to it knowledge the chief operating officer of the presidio trust. a major comeback indispensable partner in the product -- execution of this project.
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we have had the pleasure of working with him for several years and look forward to working with them and the future until the project is completed. i also want to acknowledge the first vice-president of the golden gate bridge district team. i also want to thank the chief engineer. of course, the study on doyle drive. mary curry, the leader of public affairs. let me take a moment to introduce the administrator of the federal highway administration. we are simply delighted that he has been able to take time from his busy schedule, which he spent reshaping the way we think about transportation, to come to
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san francisco to be here with us. when he leaves today, he will take with him this memento. it is a little shovel. we are giving you a paper shovel made right here in san francisco that has embedded in it native plant from the presidio. take them to your house, put them in a pot and you will have a piece of the presidio park with forever. it may even bloom. plastic? no, it is recycled american paper. american trees.
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there you have it, the ultimate sustainable gift. victor mendez is an extremely good choice as the highway administrator. he has been on the job exactly one year and three days. victor was here in october to help us kickoff the project. he oversees almost 3000 employees at the highway administration. it is no stranger to overseeing things. as director of the arizona highway department, he had a challenge their. he is a civil engineer. i always like to say -- since i am a civil engineer, too -- we can actually manage, and many of them do. they can think big.
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there is another example of someone not buying the traditional idea of what a freeway is, how people should move, and in doing a tremendous job to change the thinking in washington. that has been recognized by professional organizations around the country. he has been the president of many organizations. it is an honor for me to introduce him today as the first speaker in the program. victor mendez. [applause] >> thank you and good morning. how are we? nice and risk. i came from where it is hot and humid on the east coast, to hear. it surprised me.
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it surprised me, everybody wanted to accompany me to san francisco. one lucky person got the assignment. thank you for all of you for being here today. it is brisk but i am enjoying it. thank you for creating this. mayor, great to see you again. many of us were here to kick off the project. a lot of you were here as well, and i am glad you are back to continue with us. as i continue to talk to the people hear about this project, and beyond this, i have to say to all of you, as a region, congratulations. you have an incredible partnership here. it is clear that you all are working together, as different organizations, larger organizations have to fund balance on the big issues, you
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are doing that, and that is allow you to move forward and turn vision into reality. so congratulations to all of you. as i mentioned, i was here nine months ago for the kickoff. speaker pelosi was here. mayor newsom once here. level of support you have from your elected officials is incredible. speaker policy has been, on the national level, been helping us, as well as our committee chairman senator boxer. as well, senator feinstein has been very supportive of our transportation initiatives. we are here today to celebrate the continuation of doyle drive. it is important for me to recognize the importance of the recovery act. what we are doing today is try to maintain this by the land so that we can stand up to a
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potential earthquake in the future. but that is just part of the story, if you think beyond that parameter. across the nation, from the recovery act perspective, many similar products are occurring. we are rebuilding the economy as we rebuild the infrastructure. to run the nation, there are a lot of contacts on the shelf that would not become reality now if it was not for the recovery act. that was a major infusion to pay with to move transportation colon and has been very helpful. of course, lots of men and women like the ones here today that would have not had a job without the recovery act. if you think about where we were one year ago in the economy, the recovery act was the primary purpose to create jobs. so i and phase here to celebrate not just the project but the rebuilding of america.
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president obama has called this the summer of rebuilding. we are going to have more than 11,000 projects under way. we are improving 30,000 miles of road with this summer. if you think about it, that is 10 round trips between here and washington, d.c. we are improving safety, the infrastructure, and at the same time, creating jobs. it is also about making our communities more livable so that parents can have a stiffer ride to their kids' school. people can travel from point a to point b and spend more time with your friends and families and less time stuck in traffic. as i mentioned, of course, we are creating jobs. local suppliers come all local stores, restaurants, will benefit from this investment.
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overall, the recovery act is responsible for 2.5 million jobs throughout the country, with and the thousands of towns created solely with and transportation sector. while the recovery has not reached every business and home, we believe strongly we are heading in the right direction. doyle drive is one of the largest recovery tax in the country -- or cover act projects in the country. california will receive more recovery act funding than any other state. almost $2.6 billion. the money is committed to 943 projects with hundred and divide the summer. 122 of those proud of are already complete. as the work shows here, those products are being done with an eye toward enhancing safety,
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respect of the environment, and making california more livable. i also wanted to move this project for another reason, which is important to u.s. dot. that reason is we are involving a number of small and disadvantaged businesses, a key goal of u.s. dot. you see the new equipment here. that is simply because of the investment small businesses are able to make because of the recovery act. it is critical that small business is also a part of -- not just sharing in the economy -- by helping us to recover from an economic standpoint. let me close with a few words about our main priority as u.s. dot, and that is safety. we have many projects across the country that are underway and we need to be extra careful when driving through work zones. we want to make sure that men and women building the infrastructure are safe, and
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that is important for all of us. i would ask you to please keep that in mind. whenever you are behind the wheel, please turn off your cell phone and pay attention to your driving. i were transportation secretary ray lahood is leading a national effort to bring attention to the dangerous act of talking while driving. in closing, i want to say thank you for being here. thank you for being part of this great regional partnership, your ability to move things forward. once again, from a safety perspective, please buckle up, put away your cell phones while driving, and drive safely. thank you and congratulations. thank you. [applause] >> thank you. let me now take a second to do a couple more acknowledgements. you can jog in place if you need
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to. it is part of protocol. bill whitney of the marin transportation department. the parks service. also from the golden gate park service, the deputy director. since i am looking in the direction, let me also acknowledge a quiet presence with a big impact on our partnership with the mayor's office and our ability to advocate a jointly, not just on this project -- nancy kirschner rodriquez. another person who has been essential in bringing together
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communications in the community, spur. they represented by their current president kim chappell. he helped us guide us through the process to get an a community agreement and reminded us of a few principles the few times and lost our way. that is why we have such a fantastic project in front of us today. the state of california, the seventh biggest economy in the world, never ceases to amaze me. i am an adopted child of the u.s., state of california, and reading the secretary of the epa's biography, he oversees 40,000 employees. the only have to do with two issues.
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housing and transportation. he has 22,000 employees that he needs to look over. a $20 billion budget. i was just noticing his budget is about half of the entire agricultural exports of the country of argentina. that is fascinating. he is a fascinating man, someone that i have been privileged to partner with over the past couple of years on what is a tremendous groundbreaking initiative, the delivery of the second phase of the project. just as the victor is a visionary, i believe dale is also a visionary. many fruit of his vision are likely to mature after he has left office, but his imprint is clear on the san francisco
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infrastructure. i want to acknowledge that by welcoming him to the podium. please welcome secretary dale bonner. [applause] >> thank you. always good to be here, mr. mayor. i just had a few words. first of all, thank you to jose louis, not only for the kind words, but for his fortitude and steadfast leadership which has moved this project along over a number of years. i wanted to say thank you to him as an individual and the san francisco county transportation authority and all the local partners that have worked hard to get us here today. also, thank you to victor mendez, federal highway
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administration, u.s. dot, not only for the money, but for the partnership. butch, good to see you back on your feet again. these guys have been that almost every meeting of consequence on this, so the federal government has been very much engaged, working with us along the way. weasel -- we also want to acknowledge that come into my right. -- the gentleman to my right. before he takes off, he is a hard-working man. [laughter] this is just one of many complex and major projects that are underway in the bay area. i sleep better at night knowing that there are moving this forward because they do such a great job. all the people here in hard
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hats, vests, i want to the knowledge the hard work you do. you are the ones that take the raw materials and then turn them into world class projects that will stand the test of time, keep people safe, and keep traffic moving for many years into the future. thank you for the work that you do. we are here today celebrating a major milestone, getting the tunnel under construction. i just want to emphasize how important the entire project is. we had been working hard with a regional partners around the state to get a 10-year mobility strategy. when you look at projects of critical value in the area, this project is at the top of the list. some years later, we passed legislation in sacramento identify critical infrastructure projects which warranted some
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priority treatment. and there again you had this project. more recently, when the federal stimulus bill about building, we start looking with a regional partners and the federal government. again, this project was at the top of the list. so there is no question it is not just a milestone of this, but it is the entire phase one and phase two side of the safety work and the rest that we need to see through. thank you to everyone here today. we will continue to work together to get not only this part of the project done, but the entire project done, on time, and under budget. thank you for being here. [applause] >> thank you, mr. secretary. i just cannot imagine the federal highway administrator
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going back to washington to be asked how the event was and only remember him sitting next to me shivering. that does that bode well for us. we need to do better in the future. mr. administrator, we will that sure that we have better weather the next time you come out in the summer. that is a promise. that knowledge a couple more people. the partnership that had borne fruit in the form of the presidio park way involves representation in sacramento. i can say with complete conviction, all four representatives of sacramento are supporters of doylr drive, the presidio parkway. they were all members of the
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transportation board and understand parts of the project. more than that, they understand the importance of perseverance and sticking with one voice. that is what we do in san francisco. thanks to the productive partnership we have had with mayor gavin newsom. thank you to his leadership. i may sound like a broken record, but the truth has amazing staying power. no other mayor, at least in my tenure, has been more clear about the importance of replacing doyle drive with the parkway, been more supportive, far more effective in bringing the region to a consensus on a funding plan for the project and the need to bring it to fruition
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immediately. there is a debt of gratitude to the mayor for his leadership. we are honored to have him here today. i am honored to welcome him to the podium. >> thank you for your patience. thank you for taking the time to come out from washington, d.c.. dale, thank you for your stewardship in the region. i want to thank everybody who has already acknowledged. on behalf of jose, well done. i think this is my fifth groundbreaking. unbelievable. we were here with senator boxer, twice with speaker policy. i think we found some neighbors and did one of our own. this is a product that goes back many years. i remember when i was 10 years old, the parking and traffic
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commission in 1996 to reject never talking about this project. in 1955, folks said that it was time to fix this half hour affair. -- the repair -- thoroughfare. it needed to be structurally change. hundreds of thousands of vehicles go across every day. on the weekend, we see just as many cars built over as we do during the weekdays. this is a vital link to the economic vibrancy to the northern part of the state and it is essential that we are here. we've received victor in your organization, a number of structural safety rating of 2,
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not out of time, but out of 100. one of the seismically structurally unsafe structure in the country. but that in perspective. you remember the calamity in minneapolis. that had a structural safety rating of 50, and it was designed not the similarly to the design that currently exists. so this is what overdue. i am a fifth generation san franciscan and a fifth the generation or read a resident. i used to have to run under doyle drive to get to the park. let me suggest a couple more things. this would not have been possible without the leadership of gen chapel.
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the day i was important or reject i was appointed, he was in my office talking about this. if you could give a day could round of applause to spur and jim. here is the problem. two years ago we were half a billion dollars short in funding. we had some bad to plant, and are not the work being done. i think the final eir was done in 2008 of the did not have the money. it was because -- and this is never acknowledged, and it deserves to be. especially now with the governor supporting my opponent, i do not need to promote him, but you have to support his appointee -- i get it. governor schwarzenegger deserves an extraordinary amount of cr